Every 24 seconds, a United States Fire Department responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. Last year, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that there were over 360,000 home fires. The number of injuries and fatalities from these fires are in the thousands, not to mention the millions of dollars in property damage and years of recovery from a fire event.
According to the NFPA, fires can be started in a number of ways, but they generally fall into one of two categories: fires caused by heat igniting combustible materials, and those caused by chemical reactions. Residential homes are full of objects and materials that can combust under the right conditions. Therefore, some of the potential causes of home fire may not be at all surprising, while others may be news to some homeowners.
Let’s review the most common causes of home fire and talk about how you can prevent these events from occurring.
Cooking fires are among the most common types of house fires, causing around 48% of all residential fires. It should be no surprise that the kitchen is one of the top locations for a fire to start due to the amount of appliances that are heating sources. Grease, ovens, toasters, and microwaves can be the initiators of these types of incidences.
Preventing these types of fires takes some preplanning and some education about the dangers of kitchen heating sources. First and foremost, be sure to have a working smoke detectors in your home to give early warning for a fire that has started. You will also want to invest in a couple of fire extinguishers for both an oven fire and a grease fire on the stovetop.
In addition to these prevention techniques, fire professionals suggest never leaving a kitchen when you are cooking. Also, be sure to thoroughly clean your cookware after each use to confirm that grease is not building up. While cooking, make sure that there are no flammable items like a cookbook or dishcloth near an open flame. You should also strive to keep your cooking surfaces clear as this is a great prevention technique that is not always followed by homeowners.
For years we have heard about the dangers of smoking in bed. We know that if a smoker falls asleep the slow burn of the cigarette could cause a fire hours later and engulf a bedroom before there is a chance to escape.
With vaping products becoming more and more common in households, you will still need to be aware of where you are storing these items and the potential for the vape pen or cylinder to explode.
Fireplaces and Candles
During the colder seasons homeowners are more likely to use their fireplaces and light candles for both aesthetics and warmth. Be careful with these as fires might occur in the chimney due to a build up of soot or a closed flue and they can be catastrophic. In addition to having your chimney inspected every year, be sure to use a metal screen in front of the opening of the fireplace to stop sparks from lighting up a rug or furniture that is positioned in close proximity. Also make sure everybody in the household is aware of the dangers and precautions that come with a fire going in the fireplace. While fire burning in a fireplace may seem like nothing to worry about, they can be if you aren't careful.
As for candles, it is important to use with caution. You never want to leave an open flame alone. Children should never be in a room alone with a candle. In addition, pet owners know that curious cats and dogs have been known to brush over an open flame and get the shock of their lives or knock over the items thus causing a potential home fire. Also try to keep your burning candles in a space that is not prone to accidents or mishaps. For example don't light a candle on the entry table where kids and adults tend to breeze by and might knock it off as they head in and out. Obviously keeping candles out of reach of children like not on a short coffee table or shelf.
While we don’t expect homeowners to be well versed in electrical know-how, it should go without saying that homeowners should not attempt to perform any repairs on electrical wires by themselves. Call a professional if you suspect that your wiring may be old or if light switches are hot to the touch or if lights seem faulty.
If your home has been damaged by fire or the method of extinguishing the fire, call TMG for comprehensive assistance to get you back on your feet and into your home as fast as possible.
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